As a Halo fan, I’ve been waiting for a decent movie for a long time.
The live action films Forward Unto Dawn and Nightfall didn’t really capture me. They told stories and they told them well, but an action-filled romp full of Master Chief kicking serious Covenant, Flood or Promethean ass wasn’t what we had there.
But then I heard about Halo: The Fall of Reach. An animated feature length film based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, it shows us the events that occurred before the phenomenal Halo: Combat Evolved hit our Xbox consoles – smashing records and changing first person shooters forever.
Halo: The Fall of Reach tells the story of John, a six year old boy who is fished up by Dr Catherine Halsey and Lieutenant Jacob Keyes of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) because he holds special genes in his system that make him more adept than normal kids in combat and survival situations. Dr Halsey and Lt. Keyes wish to insert him into the now infamous Spartan project to later become the legendary super soldier Master Chief.
So yeah, I was intrigued. But it seems I was wrong to get my hopes up for this new Halo movie. Here are six reasons why you may want to avoid watching this.
(Warning: some spoilers)
1. You want to see Master Chief kicking ass
Sadly, throughout 90% of the film, we don’t get to see the fully equipped Master Chief wielding his assault rifle mowing down hordes of Covenant. The film shows him at the start reminiscing to a fellow Blue Team member, before the film cuts to a flashback which pretty much carries right through the rest of the film. This is an origins film which shows John as a child. Saying that, he still kicks ass, even before he gets the job as the Chief.
2. The animation is no Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Halo: The Fall of Reach is animated using 3D graphics, but I cant help but see it as one big cut scene from an indie video game. It feels low budget. Lack of facial expressions, or any sense of emotion, is pretty notable throughout. The combat and action sequences look rigid and robotic too. If you have played Halo 5 and witnessed the brilliance of those cut scenes, don’t expect to see the same kind of thing here.
3. The voice acting
The voice acting in Halo: The Fall of Reach leaves a lot to be desired, except for Master Chief himself. Too often I thought to myself: “It sounds like they are reading off of cue cards”. There are no remarkable performances here unfortunately, which surprised me as the voice acting in the games is so on point. Whilst Halo: The Fall of Reach is enjoyable as a story, the characters don’t tell it very well at all.
4. There are no memorable battles or action sequences
Oh man! That fight scene where…I mean the battle of…erm…yeah. There are no iconic battles or memorable action segments here. Master Chief does get to fight a few Covenant near the end, but you spend so long waiting for it, it becomes more of an anti climax when it happens. Kid John does have a few fights in his run up to becoming the Chief but they didn’t wow me. Once the Covenant are introduced for the first time, there are short space battle sequences which show the UNSC utilizing their iconic Pelicans but even this fails to hold. I wanted more. Halo is a shooting game. Give me more shooting!
5. This is all about John
Halo: The Fall of Reach is all about John. Dr Halsey and Lt Keyes play a significant role in his recruitment and development, but the most screentime belongs to John without a doubt. His training is shown, his recruitment into the Spartan program and becoming the Chief is all here. Forget about it if you want to see the origins of the Covenant or the UNSC or even how humans managed to colonise other planets.
6. There are no iconic vehicles
If you want to see the Warthog, Mongoose, Banshee, Wraith or anything other than a UNSC fleet of ships and Covenant ships, you will be sorely disappointed here. I wanted to see intense battles in the skies involving Banshees and Pelicans and escape scenes on the back of a speedy Mongoose. Ididnt get any.
Story wise, Halo: The Fall of Reach excels. Unfortunately, everything else is a blur. A shame really.
Halo: The Fall of Reach is out now to buy or rent on DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD.